‘Getaway Driver’ Showrunner Adam Vetri On Creating A “Visually Awesome And Energetic” Competition Focused On High-Speed Car Chases

When he went to interview to be the showrunner of Getaway Driver, Adam Vetri was immediately into the concept. While it started out with a simple high-speed chase concept, the show evolved when they came up with the idea for a “post-apocalyptic world.” With that in mind, Vetri and his crew searched for interesting terrains until they finally found the compound that was perfect.

Getaway Driver is a reality competition series on Discovery, hosted by Michelle Rodriguez. Drivers need to escape the compound, using their own rides, without being caught by the pursuers, in order to keep the cash they were given at the start.

Rodriguez, known primarily for her role as Letty Ortiz in the Fast and Furious franchise, was the perfect selection to host this competition. As the drivers are pursued, the course has many different terrains and areas that are unforgiving to cars.

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DEADLINE: How did you get Michelle Rodriguez involved?

ADAM VETRI: It’s a miracle that she said yes. I called her agent and said, “Hey, I got this idea for a show and I would love for Michelle to be involved.” And it turned out that she loved it. The thing that I love about Michelle is she really knows her brand. You know, she’s never done a reality show before, she’s never really done hosting of any kind, and she said to me, “Look, I like the idea, I like what you’re saying, I like your energy, but I am one of the faces of arguably the largest car franchise on the planet. If I’m gonna do something with cars, it needs to be fucking awesome.”

So I told her, “Look, I can’t guarantee you anybody’s gonna watch it. I can’t guarantee you it’s gonna get great ratings… but I can guarantee you that we are gonna make something that’s visually awesome and energetic and incredibly fun to watch.” And she paused for a second and was like, “That sounds great. Let’s do it.”

DEADLINE: Let’s talk about that course, what was the creation process like?

VETRI: We went around and looked at a ton of locations. The feeling of post-apocalyptic was definitely a vibe that we were going for, so it was all abandoned properties. Some of them were more desolate and had more of a Mad Max desert style, some were just the chemical plants, some were like old, mall type areas, like broken down buildings… This place was a gem because it had all three of these scenarios in it, which was just unbelievable. So, when you’re driving through it, you really feel like you’re going through different neighborhoods on a high speed chase. And you’re definitely traveling in and out of different neighborhoods as you try to get away.

DEADLINE: One aspect that was so interesting to me was that the contestants were all willing to risk their personal rides. Was it difficult to get contestants to sign up for this? Or were there a lot of people that just wanted that challenge?

VETRI: I’d say it was a combination of both. Most of these people are professionals. They’re not on the indie circuit, but they’re racers and they take racing seriously. A lot of these people are used to their car getting banged up in a drift race; you’re rubbing other cars, you’re losing the corner panel, you’re losing the fender… They’re used to racing on the weekend and working on their car all week, getting it ready for the next weekend’s race. So, damaging their car is sort of a regular occurrence in the race game. For them, I would imagine their mindset is that it’s just another race. I mean, the difference is that in order to be captured, we have to incapacitate you. The intention is not to smash into people, but it’s high speed chases, it’s blind corners, it’s dirt roads, it’s gravel, they were slipping and sliding. Sometimes the drivers would just spin out or they would get trapped or their car would stop… I would say we ran the gamut of some intense contact to no contact at all. But sometimes when you’re going high speeds and you’re forced to make quick decisions, user error is a big part of it. The beauty in the adrenaline of trying to get away is how people respond to it. Can I do it?  And then we find out if you can.

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